The Nude Censored
By Marty Hidalgo
As the September issue of Image was readied for publication last June our printer refused to print some of the photographs of nudes by George Krause. The photographs were illustrating an article by Krause about nude photography. Three of the photographs were acceptable to the printer as "art." Two were not. "I have employees who will refuse to handle these," he said. "I have learned that it is not worth it to me to fight this kind of issue with them." The compromise solution we attempted to adopt with the printer became unworkable when yet another photograph of a nude by another photographer was later rejected. It was part of an illustration for an article on photographers in New Mexico.
Two more printers turned us down because of the nudes. As I viewed displays commemorating Freedom of the Press in their offices, the ideal took on new meaning. Freedom of the Press, it seems, depends on who controls the press. On the fourth try we found a printer whose background, visual awareness and understanding of what our publication is about allows him to print Image without first passing judgment.
Of the four printers who actually saw the photos, three rejected them because of their content. None of the rejecting printers asked about the context in which the photos would be seen. None read the text by George Krause explaining his views on nude photography.
Upon publication we discovered the issue of the nudes was not finished. We learned that some of our readers were disgusted by the nude photos and threw the magazine away after a quick glance. Others thought the kind of nude photography we pictured was outdated.
While we didn't set out to be controversial, it seems as though we were. We intended to show what a variety of photographers are doing and to provide a forum for discussion and viewing of their work.
The human figure is a universal art theme. In the same issue were also photos of nuns, a mother and two daughters, Irish school children, and Tibetan nomads to name a few.
We are curious about what is going on in photography and seek to be as well-rounded and comprehensive as possible within our 24 pages published quarterly.
Besides the article on nude photography, for example we covered European photography, dogs, a Houston photo project, Houston's three juried photography shows as well as book reviews.
We join others in the community who want to broaden their understanding about photography.